Portent Staff // Oct 24 2008
Times are tense, and now more than ever, you feel the burden of needing that ever-elusive advantage over the competition. If you’ve overdosed on tipping points, purple cows, and cheese-moving, it’s time to turn to the true treasure-trove of internet marketing secrets: the dating bible “The Rules” by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider. Read on to see how these guerilla dating tactics brilliantly translate into internet marketing maxims to live by.
This is probably the single most famous line from this best-selling 1995 singles tome. According to the authors, being a creature unlike any other “is really an attitude, a sense of confidence and radiance that permeates your being from head to toe.”
Now these are hard times, and head-to-toe radiance may sound like a luxury investment your internet marketing company simply cannot afford. But if you think about it, “become a creature like any other” is really just a sultrier translation of common internet marketing buzzwords. Brands. Niches. Unique Selling Points. Key Performance Indicators. And so on….
So, not only is becoming a creature like any other not a luxury, it’s a key internet marketing maxim. So how do you do it?According to the authors, being perceived as unique by your clients is a simple matter of exhibiting confidence and a positive attitude. So, rather than scrambling to develop some elusive unique new features or service, just be confident and enthusiastic about your genuinely fabulous internet marketing agency.
Since true confidence is so rare, that in itself will set you apart from your competition. Let the radiance begin!
Could the parallel between dating and internet marketing be more clear? In our modern age, we revel in the fact that both exhausting pastimes can be accomplished from the comfort of our curlers and our computer. Add a few photo attachments, sprinkle in a few emoticons, maybe get wild and web cam, and viola, relationships acheived. Wrong!
Even if you entered internet marketing because you are an agoraphobe a la Emily Dickinson, you’re going to have to overcome that if you really want to form lasting beneficial relationships with your clients. Pick up the phone, set up a time, brush off your pantyhose or your pinstripes, and show your clients the respect of periodic face-to-face meetings. No amount of emoticons can achieve the impact of one in-person exchange, that’s a fact!
As the Rule says: “You may have a good rapport with your doctor, lawyer or accountant, and you may find yourself wondering if he is interested in you romantically. How can you know for sure? If he’s never asked you out, then he’s not interested!”
The same applies to the tricky dance of client courtship. In the beginning, it can be hard to know how many questions to answer, how much free advice to give away, and how many lunch bills you’re willing to foot in order to get a client. This process can drag out indefinitely, so use the Rules metric: if by three meetings the potential client hasn’t signed a contract, you’re living in a fantasy. If they haven’t signed by now, they never will. Cut them loose!
The Rule states “It goes back to the basic premise of The Rules: Man pursues woman. When writing your ad, remember that every man has a type, a voice or a look he likes. There has to be a spark for him that attracts him to you, something that makes him find you unexplainably special.”
It goes back to basic premise of ancient life: client pursues internet marketing agency. This may be controversial, but I really do believe it whole-heartedly. Every client knows exactly what they are looking for in an internet marketing agency, even if they can’t define it tangibly. It’s a certain look, or tone, or marketing style that lets that client know you are right for them.
If the business relationship doesn’t bloom from that initial conviction, no amount of coercion on your part is going to make it happen. If you don’t have that special something a client is looking for, you can chase them until you’re blue in the face and never get so much as a returned phone call. It’s all about finding the right match. If you are an internet marketing agency, focus on making your marketing collateral play up your strong points, rather than pouring your energy into beating down doors and cold calling. Let the right clients find you, and when they do, provide them with plenty of attractive information that proves their initial inklings about you were right-on!
This is a valuable internet marketing insight, and one that now has more relevance than ever. In this volatile economy, it may be tempting to turn a blind eye to obvious problems with potential accounts. “A client’s a client,” you think, eagerly foisting the pen upon them as they eye the door. But this is a mistake.
Watch a potential client’s behavior during the sales process. If they are flaky and vague during the initial signing process, they always will be. If they hem and haw and change their mind constantly, they always will. Do they honor meeting times and return emails promptly even before they are officially a client? Then they always will. Remember, commit-phobia applies to both potential suitors and potential clients, and in either case it’s a terminal condition. Even when it feels like slim pickings out there, continue to watch for early red flags in order to save yourself trouble in the long run.
The Rule states: “Take care of yourself, take a bubble bath and build up your soul with positive slogans like “I am a beautiful woman. I am enough.”
As the former flood of potential client calls slows to a trickle, the bonuses stop flowing, and services get slashed, it can be tempting to stop trying. Your internet marketing effort becomes the equivalent of a ratty bathrobe and a month of grow-out as your mumble cynically to an uncaring screen “What’s the point? No one even notices.”
But you have to understand, as The Rules ladies do, that this kind of down-time is a gift in disguise. Don’t use it to play Quake and perfect your Facebook account. Use it as a peaceful time when clients aren’t breathing down your neck, a time to strengthen your internal processes, add your latest and greatest work to your portfolio, or look at all your accounts and identify what big-picture processes it’s time to refine.
Being able to have the time to take care of all these nagging issues that negatively effect your company in the long run is a blessing, not a curse. Think of it as the equivalent of an internet marketing bubble bath.
Last but not least, always remember “You are a beautiful internet marketer. You are enough!”